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Efficiency versus the unexpected

“Very small changes can make a disproportionate impact.” In a world that is changing ever faster, efficiency is not always your friend – in fact, it can make matters worse. You cannot plan everything, but you can prepare yourself.

The unexpected is becoming the norm. On the one side, experts have become reluctant to predict long-term results or events. On the other, digital transformation has standardized work for maximum efficiency. Standardizing our ability to adapt and react for maximum efficiency doesn’t work so well, however, when the unexpected occurs. What does Margaret Hefferman suggest? 

  1. Put preparedness before efficiency. It is not that efficiency isn’t important, but it can sometimes get in the way of actions that would better prepare us for a crisis. 
  2. Experiment: “Failed experiments look inefficient, but they’re often the only way you can figure out how the real world works.”
  3. Have faith in human skills in this technological world. The less we know about the future, the more we’re going to need these tremendous sources of human, messy, unpredictable skills.” 

“Lose those skills, and we are adrift. But hone and develop them, and we can make any future we choose.” A masterly talk! 

To go further

The Human skills we need in an unpredictable world

Margaret Hefferman, (TED Summit 2019). 

Françoise Tollet
Published by Françoise Tollet
She spent 12 years in industry, working for Bolloré Technologies, among others. She co-founded Business Digest in 1992 and has been running the company since 1998. And she took the Internet plunge in 1996, even before coming on board as part of the BD team.